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The Wheelhouse

August 21, 2015 No Comments

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Right in the middle of Falmouth’s town centre there is an alleyway that leads through an archway and down to the water. The alley has a name – Upton Slip – and at the end of the slip, staring up at you with piercing eyes is a ship’s figurehead. Amy of the Amazon she’s called and she stands six feet tall. Next to this giant figurehead there’s a terracotta coloured building with a bright blue doorway. Within lies Falmouth’s worst kept secret: The Wheelhouse.

When The Wheelhouse first opened, word of mouth spread like juicy gossip or a perfectly executed social media campaign and within weeks of opening they were fully booked up to a month ahead. They weren’t even trying – in fact they were doing their best to remain hidden. Fat chance. It’s even in The Guardian’s top ten budget eats in Cornwall.

Eating at The Wheelhouse is like eating in someone’s farmhouse kitchen – there are large wooden tables supplemented with old sewing tables and whatever else they could get their hands on. There are candles stuffed into wine bottles and a pile of mismatched plates piled in the middle of the table. The staff are friendly, as if they are welcoming you into their home, but none of this feels forced or contrived. If there’s two of you, or fifteen the treatment is the same.

The menu is skeletal – or should I say a shell of a menu – and is perfect for it. Unless you hate seafood that is. But balls to you, if you don’t. I think I can list the whole menu from memory, so here goes: crab – brown, spider or velvet; shell on prawns with garlic, ginger and chili; mussels in a white wine sauce; mussels in a red Thai sauce, oysters and scallops. Then there are the sides: salad and chips. Done, that’s the lot. It’s all on a blackboard above the counter. The crab are numbered and this number is replaced every time one is ordered, 9, then 8, then 7… The scallops are especially good. They come served in shells and with a sweet and tangy sauce that I’ve not been able to replicate.

It’s a place for sharing and getting your hands dirty. It’s a place for tearing, cracking and snapping and brushing elbows with each other. In other words, it’s an eating experience as opposed to just another restaurant. The atmosphere is special and I’ve never heard anyone complain about the place – unless they are complaining that it doesn’t open enough.

As far Cornish Holiday Cottages are concerned, The Wheelhouse is pretty much a holiday must. So, when you’re planning your next trip to Cornwall, put a trip to The Wheelhouse right at the top of your wish list and book it right after booking with us.